Sunday, March 29, 2009

African Drumming Class

Our fun teacher, M'Bemba.
I occasionally get together with a group of fellow adventurers who are always looking for new things to try or new places to go. Our latest adventure was African drumming!

We went to a class taught by M'Bemba. Here's his bio:

M'Bemba has traveled throughout the world as a performer and teacher of West African drum & dance and is revered worldwide for his high level of mastery. As a native of Guinea from the Sousou ethnic group, he began drumming & dancing at a very young age. By the age of 21, he was acclaimed as a master drummer and invited to play for Ballet Djoliba, the most respected ballet company in Guinea at that time. Since moving to the U.S. in 1992, M'Bemba co-founded the Fareta School of Drum and Dance in NYC.

M'Bemba was very personable, very pleasant, and funny. His accent is quite heavy, and The really cool looking drum I rented for the class.I sometimes had difficulty understanding his words, but he also uses gestures and animated facial expressions, and I was able to keep up. He has a nice way about him and never became impatient with his newbie students. It was amazing how quickly he had us all drumming with a fair amount of skill when just an hour before we knew nothing about this.

While he taught us drumming, M'Bemba also told us about life in Guinea, and how drums are such a part of the life there among the villagers. He also explained that city and village life are very different - the village is where one can experience traditional music, celebrations, and food.

The class was held at a place I'd never been before called The Warehouse (in Albany). In addition to the large classroom space, it is full of architecural salvage and other fun odds and ends for sale, plus a quaint cafe.

All in all, there were about 40 students in the class! One person in our smaller group hadForty people drumming in sync makes for a very cool sound. her own drum and the rest of us rented them. Mine was very cool, with some type of animal skin around the upper part and some type of shells that clacked around the base.

We started with very basic taps and slaps, and were very soon drumming away in unison. It's quite incredible to hear the cadence of so many drums all beating together. For some of the class, each side of the room was given a different rhythm to beat. When we all played our parts at the same time, it was fantastic. I kept wondering what this must sound like outside the building!


Mo said...

So do you think you will continue drumming. Sounds like a fun day

LoveANewIdea said...

This really was a fun and new experience for me, which I try to have whenever possible. But, I can't say I feel drawn to it. I think if I were to devote extra time to becoming really good at something, I would choose writing or art.


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